Buggery and Parliament, 1533-2017

21 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2018 Last revised: 28 May 2019

Date Written: April 3, 2018


Over nearly five centuries the UK Parliament, and its earlier incarnations, frequently legislated to ensure the regulation and punishment of buggery, a form of sexual conduct once generally accepted to constitute one of the most serious criminal offences known to law. In the early twenty-first century, Parliament abolished the offence of buggery and, subsequently, granted pardons to certain individuals previously convicted of it. Whilst some aspects of the history of Parliament’s approach to buggery are well known – particularly in respect of homosexual law reform – much of this history remains obscure. This article provides an in-depth consideration of the making of statute law in Parliament relating to buggery that reveals the dramatically changing attitudes of legislators towards this aspect of sexual conduct and highlights the significance and importance of the pardons granted to those convicted of the offence.

Keywords: Criminal Law, Gay, Homosexuality, LGBT, Pardons, Sexuality

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Paul, Buggery and Parliament, 1533-2017 (April 3, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3155522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3155522

Paul Johnson (Contact Author)

University of York ( email )

University of York
York, YO10 5DD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.york.ac.uk/sociology/our-staff/academic/paul-johnson/

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